Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: Callow - Disappear Here

Alright, boys and girls, prepare yourselves. Today, I'm bringing you one of Boston's most talented acts (right alongside Aviator, of course), Callow. These dudes play emotional hardcore with a beautifully strained, powerfully meek delivery. Mixing in subtle elements of heavier, darker bands like Cursed and even the Godfathers themselves (Converge), the final outcome of "Disappear Here" is one to be remembered; but, I won't spoil it for you, just yet. This album is going to be pressed on cassette by It's A Trap! Records, very, very soon!

How can hardcore be dead, if Callow's forever?

"Awake" - The sweetest, fuzziest chords start the song, with (incredibly well-produced) drums punctuating the wall of sound swiftly and elegantly, all rolling over a sullen spoken word piece that flawlessly sets up the mood for the rest of the album. "I need to disappear, I need to escape."

"Light" - At the end of the "Awake," dissonant chords signal the "beginning of the end," so to speak. And that end dread is conveyed fully in "Light." Fast and raw punk chords ring out muddled, undercutting the painstaking, throat-closing screams, "The walls I saw were white. Where was the light?" Reverb-heavy vocals finish the song with the haunting image, "There was nothing bright enough to shine me a path, so I broke down and found my own."
"Glass Eyes/Broken Home" - This song is a schizophrenic, mind-numbing journey through the evocative past of the album's narrator, and leaves the listener with the familiar sense of dread, let down, and heartbreak. Then it's over... only to begin again as the second part of this song overcompensates for the chaos of the first, structured and burning, "You never gave me the chance."

"Convict Code" - The most catchy and riff-heavy song on the album, this track is most reminiscent of Cursed's "One" and Covnerge's "Jane Doe" albums. Frantic drums, self-mutilating and masturbatory vocals, and bloody-fingertip riffs that overtake the listener--most likely before moving onto a flock of pigs that fling themselves over a cliff. (See: The Bible... Or don't.) Again, this is the darkest, most intense song I've heard from a dark hardcore band in awhile. And I don't mean in a cheesy, "frightening" way; I mean in a pupil-dilating, silent scream, "oh-my-god-I'll-never-be-ok-again" way. "Tomorrow never showed its face."
"Understudies" - Ok, I may have been wrong, before. Because, boys and girls, this song is going to be the one that keeps you up at night, not because you don't want to sleep, but because you can't stop thinking about your own existence. The most heartfelt, realistic song about contemplating suicide and wishing for self-destruction that I've ever heard in my life. I stopped the track at the end to soak it in, and really meditate it (something I haven't done since I tried to find God through mewithoutYou's "[A-->B] Life." Editor's note: Didn't!) But regardless, this song is hauntingly beautiful, and terrifying in a way that I haven't known bands to possess since... ever.

"Disappear Here" - This instrumental track is not wasted, boys and girls, and there's nothing "filler" about this song. All the beauty of the first part of the song--the clean, constructed riffs, and somber melody--is thrown out with the bathwater in the second part. Adding in distorted guitars, and incredible, booming bass, and those same, kickass drums, the last 2 minutes of this song is the most self-destructive riff I've heard since Trash Talk's "Revelation." (Say what you want about Trash Talk's self-titled album, but that song ruled for what it was.) 

"Asleep" - Clocking in at almost 5 full minutes, this song was a pure treat for me. Hitting all the spots I love, from the Jane Doe influence, to the more melodic, Give Up The Ghost stylings, this track is a masterpiece of modern hardcore. Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, if this is the future of hardcore, then hardcore can stay forever. Beautiful, crushing, beautiful. Guilt, anxiety; my eyes were wide open for the entire track. Ending the album on a hopeful note was a turn that I did not see coming, but it's rather refreshing than the usual "fuck, kill myself, eat shit, suicide, girls, suicide, ironic line/pun, eat more shit" layout of most emotional hardcore bands. "I'm afraid of the future, yet so satisfied to know that we can continue to breathe. We will never let go."

All that being said, this album is a roller coaster, both manically depressed and manically depressing, this album is emotive, evocative, and perfectly on the border between healthy apathy and mind-draining suicidal thoughts. Beautifully structured, composed, and orchestrated; this isn't quite an album to weep to, but it's one that deserves to be laid next to you, while you lay awake at night, wondering how your life got to the point it's at. Enjoy the rest of your night.